THE late John Sparrow, former Warden of All Souls, Oxford, had an eye for fine book bindings, and about 5,000 books from his library are expected to fetch pounds 250,000 on Wednesday at 10.30am. Christie's catalogue description of Anthony Wood's History and Antiquities of Oxford University (1674) gives precedence not to its author but to its binder, Roger Bartlett. It is estimated at pounds 800- pounds 1,200. The same book in an undecorated 17th-century binding might fetch pounds 300- pounds 400; in modern boards it would be a mere pounds 100. Sparrow's library of English literature is remarkable for its rare editions by unknowns, such as the 80 works of the satirist Thomas Mathias (d1835), est pounds 1,000- pounds 1,500.

Christie's sale of English literature (Thursday, 10.30am), has the first English edition of Collodi's Pinocchio (1891), est pounds 800- pounds 1,000, among thousands of children's books collected by the writer Daniel Quayle.

Books and maps: Sotheby's (Tuesday and Wednesday, 10.30am daily). More art reference books than usual and 13 lots on falconry estimated in the low hundreds.

OLD MASTERS, NEW MONEY

Auctioneers are hoping the devalued pound will attract European buyers to this week's minor Old Master sales. Phillips on Tuesday, 11am, and Christie's South Kensington on Thursday, 2pm, follows Bonhams at 11am. Christie's is Friday, 11am.

TEUTONIC TOYS

Biblical toys were no doubt popular among pious Victorians. A German Noah's ark is est pounds 800- pounds 1,000 in Christie's South Kensington's toy sale (Thursday, 2pm). Phillips West Two has toy soldiers (Tuesday, 12 noon).

ASIAN WEEK

Well-stocked Islamic and Indian art sales at Sotheby's (Thursday and Friday 11am daily) and Christie's (Tuesday, 10.30am and Thursday, 2.30pm). Oriental and European rugs at Sotheby's (Wednesday, 11am).

STAMPS OF APPROVAL

Outstanding specimen stamps are in Dr Douglas Latto's collection of Great Britain 1855-91: Phillips (Thursday, 11am).

COUNTRYWIDE

A wealth of country house contents sales on the premises, each including furniture, paintings, ceramics, silver, garden statuary and other artworks.

Navan, County Meath: Stackallan House on Tuesday at 10.30am. Christie's Glasgow (041 332 8134).

Thetford: Shadwell Park on Wednesday and Thursday, 10.30am. Sotheby's (071-408 5263).

Steeple Barton: Residual contents of Barton Abbey (Tuesday, 11am). Phillips Oxford (0865 723524).

Otterburn: Elsdon Tower, Elsdon, on Tuesday, 10.30am. Anderson & Garland, Newcastle upon Tyne (091 232 6278).

Leominster: Upton Hall, Carmarthen, in the saleroom (Thursday, 10.30am). Russell Baldwin & Bright (0568 611166).

Ossett: Plumbing, bathroom goods (Monday, 10am). Public house stock, karaoke equipment (Wednesday, 12 noon). C W Harrison (0924 279005).

Telford: Liquidated stock of a waterproof country-clothing manufacturer, Kede Manufacturing, on the premises at Ketley Business Park, Ketley, (Monday, 11am). Stephens, Birmingham (021 643 1942).

Countrywide auctions by Antiques Trade Gazette (071-930 4957) and Government Auction News (071-734 8291/4, hotline 0891- 887700).

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